Category Archives: Mason CIty

Remembrances of Faith

Remembrances of Faith-1The weather has suddenly turned for the worse beginning this morning.  I was shocked to find it getting colder instead of warmer as the day progressed.  I understand it’s supposed to get down in the 20′s later this week, so I guess just about everything green will be soon turning brown.  I’m not looking forward to the days of cold and darkness again.  Those who work inside most of the year really don’t have that much to worry about during the Winter months other than getting from home to work, but the other poor devils that have to be out in it are those I pity.

Without looking to see what the weather was going to be like, I soon found I hadn’t dressed warm enough for the day.  Fortunately, most of my day was spent in the office doing some much needed sorting and arranging of files.  It’s amazing how quickly papers can pile up to where they cause annoying clutter.  After about five hours of sorting, filing, shredding and cleaning, I’d say I’ve got pretty much all of it back under control.

All of these signs I’m seeing around town with “vote yes” on them, and knowing many who live in those homes, is just another confirmation that this “vote yes” business is being pushed by a very select group of people in our community.  I keep thinking to myself, “What’s really in it for them?”  I’m wondering if they’re being pressured by high-up business associates. What do you think?

What I’m very thankful for, is being able to go to several key people in our City who know the rest of a given story, or possess the missing pieces to a mental puzzles.  They usually don’t hesitate to share information because I similarly share mine with them.  It’s nearly always funny whenever we speak about a given person or subject because there’s almost always something we both bring to the table that wasn’t known by the other which creates an even more clear picture of a given person or situation.  For me it’s a great example of genuine people wanting the best for each other along with a willingness to help whenever possible. With those few, there’s never been that “What’s in it for me?” whenever giving or gathering information.

Late this afternoon there was quite the creepiest of happenings.  While I was busy with gleaning in my office of needless paper, a young man stopped by to drop something off that belonged to his father who passed about 6 years ago.  The item really wasn’t much, but he thought the person that purchased his father’s home would want it since it was part of the house. The kicker of this story is that not but 10 minutes earlier, I’d found a file containing funeral pamphlets.  I flipped thru them and noticed one which I felt compelled to re-read regarding the deceased father of today’s visitor.  Now that was a very creepy coincidence wouldn’t you say?  I made sure to tell my visitor what had happened not but 10 minutes earlier. Sometimes things happen that defy the laws of chance to where you say, “What the heck was that all about?”

Several people called me today to say how much they liked yesterday’s article about St. Paul Lutheran Church here in Mason City.  Rest assured, my comments and observations were agenda-free.  It really is a wonderful community of Faith and hopefully more people will take the time to pay St. Paul a visit some Sunday morning in the near future.

During one of those conversations today, I intimately shared my feelings about the beautiful carved wooden Cross that hangs in St. Paul’s Sanctuary.  It’s not only a great work of art, but also invokes in me a great sense of reverence to where I’m always compelled to bow my head a bit and bless myself whenever walking past it.  Don’t you think places of worship should always contain “best-work” artistic remembrances of faith?  Believe me, that Cross was someone’s best, and likely meant to be hanging in St. Paul’s Sanctuary.

Smile While looking Back

St. Paul Lutheran today-1We certainly had quite the beauteous day unfold after that pounding rain storm we had last night.  I was getting a bit fearful of the lightning that seemed to pack all the more punch when seeing it strike in the distance.  One of the bolts that struck looked like something out of Star Wars.  I hope whatever it hit wasn’t someone’s home.  Too many take thunderstorms for granted, but in reality, they should be all the more careful in protecting all those electrically powered peripherals contained in their homes.

My best advice is for everyone to unplug electric appliances as well as everything else that contains components which can easily be fried by a close lightning strike.  When our office was in another building Downtown many years ago, we had computers fried by a nearby strike.  It wasn’t a pleasant surprise when arriving and the office the next morning.  A great lesson was learned and remembered.

Having agreed to play over at St. Paul Lutheran today, I went over about an hour early to do a little warming up for their 9:00 o’clock Service.  Their new Pastor is exceptionally well educated and has accomplished far more than most.  Since he’s new, I went to their webpage and read his bio.  This morning after practicing with him I soulfully said, “I can see your religious career has been centered around helping others in great ways–especially in the area of social justice.”  He seemed surprised that I managed to understand his “core” after reading about him.

He felt it would be better for me to play the piano for the service music he would be leading.  Since I played for him before, I could tell it was easier for him to follow me when playing the piano versus the organ.  At first he thought I was making some great compromise, so I assured him it wasn’t a big deal for me to switch from organ to piano during the Service.   After I finished playing their last hymn on the organ, I was happy that he’d asked me to switch back and forth.  It seemed to add more musical texture to their Gathering.

I do wish there’d be more people attending St. Paul Lutheran Church here in Mason City.  It’s truly a place that offers a more contemplative spiritual setting.  I’ve never been one who gets off on church “performances” because I don’t believe it’s a place to show off talent, but rather a sacred place to share talents.  Believe me, I’ve been around far too many over the years who work at being “center stage”, along with those who’re sure to appear overly-pious in their outward signs of faith.  As a whole, I’ve never found that to be something living in St. Paul’s community, which for me is a breath of fresh air.

The remainder of my day was spent listing two homes along with playing catch up with yesterday’s menial tasks that I had to dispense with due to the rain.  Please take a look at my two new listings which are located at 217 – 6th St. SW and 326 – 15th St. SE.  I’m already getting calls on 15th St SE which doesn’t surprise me a bit.

For a Sunday, I’d say I had quite the broad range of duties which seamlessly moved from one to another until I was able to call it quits and smile while looking back.

Continue to Thrive

Continue to ThriveWithout looking at what our weather forecast was to be for this weekend, I wasn’t the happiest to find it raining lightly this morning.  A few of my morning plans had to be changed, so subsequently I found myself doing office work nearly the entire morning.  So much for those best laid plans.

A seller and I finally got connected and an appointment is set for tomorrow morning to go out and list his home.  I’m hoping it’ll sell quickly due to it being in a very good location as well as having good bones.  There’s also room for expansion should more bedrooms be needed.  As long as there are still buyers out there able to see past clutter, it’ll make someone a good long term investment.

One of my old clients stopped by today to share some disturbing information with me which he managed to find while doing some research of his own online.  I always knew there were boatloads of statistics about nearly every City in the United States.  Some of our fair City’s statistics are not something we want to be proud over.  Did you know that over 7% of Mason City’s population have no high school diplomas?   Also, there are well over 70% that only have high school diplomas and some college.  And lastly, there’s a weak 20% that have Bachelor’s degrees or greater.  Sounds pretty sad doesn’t it?

Several other bits of information he shared was that Mason City’s crime rate is 17% higher than the national average, along with there being 40% more registered sex offenders.  Something that didn’t surprise me was when he told me there’s nearly 500 households receiving Section 8 housing assistance.  Now keep in mind, that doesn’t count others who are receiving some sort of Government assistance such as the added residents of Handicap Village along with Comprehensive Systems and the Transition Center which is always expanding.  He didn’t have the information on how many of those three groups are living here, but I’m sure some investigative reporter could find those numbers.

About 10 years ago I happened upon some very informative stats which Mason City made the top 100 list of per capita features.  One I do remember reading was that our City was in that top 100 list in the percentage of people living here that were under some sort of supervised care.  When big corporations look at communities in which to expand, you can be assured they’re getting all the more in-depth information than we’d ever imagine. If you’ve got time, go online and see how many government statistics you can find about Mason City.  I’m still hoping we can get our real problems resolved so that our City can begin to grow again.  Far too many have considered the state of our City’s woes to be chronic and without cures.  As far as I’m concerned, nearly all problems can be solved as long as everyone works together for a common good.

First and foremost, an educated community is one that’ll nearly always make the right decisions and thus continue to thrive and prosper.

Naughty Monkey Businesspeople

Oh that warm southerly wind we had today really made me feel more like it was late August instead of the 20th of October.  I guess we’ll continue to have grass to mow until the hard frost arrives.  Believe me, I’m completely OK with that.

Both of my closings today had soft landings in spite one of them having to be postponed for about four hours due to my buyer’s funds arriving later than expected.  I shake my head all the more often these years when finding other professionals dropping the ball on important as well as time sensitive tasks.  It’s no wonder why many people in certain fields have jokes made about them and freely passed around.  The professional that dropped the ball today was associated with an insurance company.  It just reminded me again why I never had the desire to work in the insurance field.

Later this afternoon I had a very good showing at Prairie Place on 1st which is the Senior housing complex which still has available units I’m working at getting sold.  To date, I’ve been very lucky in getting as many sold since coming on board.  I’m hoping the trend will continue.  The gentleman I showed today would be yet another great fit for that growing community of delightful people.

An unfortunate story was told to me today by another elderly person who lives in Clear Lake.  He told me about a particular tree service he hired to trim some high-hanging branches off a tree in his yard.  With his hands he showed me about how big around they were and said, “How much do you think I was charged?”  Knowing by then it must’ve been more than I would’ve paid so I said, “Probably $2,000.00″.   He rolled his eyes and said, “I only wish that was what I paid.”  He proceeded to tell me, and when he said the amount I nearly choked.  I grew very stern and said, “The amount you paid was not just a sin, but open-air thievery.”  He agreed and said, “I’ve been sure to tell all my friends and relatives how badly I was hosed.”  This is yet another example of what I’ve spoken about in the past.  There are many elderly people with money who live in our midst, but they’re afraid to have repairs and improvements done for fear of being royally screwed by shyster service people.  I’m glad he told me what company it was so I can to add it to my list of naughty monkey businesspeople.

Don’t forget about my public open house at 418 – 7th St. SE tomorrow which I’ll have open from 1 – 3 PM.  Anyone looking for a clean 4 bedroom home with a half bath on the main floor, this one should be considered a keeper.  Several calls that came in today were from sellers looking to get their homes listed, so hopefully I’ll have several more listings from which to choose for our buying public.

I’m hoping every sentient soul in North Iowa spends some free time outdoors this weekend so to enjoy this wonderful weather we’re having the last half of October.

Curtain Rising on 418

418 7th St. SE-1Yet another beautiful weather day again to where I believe we all could live with this until Christmas.  The maple trees are still showing their brilliant colors and fortunately the light frost we had didn’t damage our late blooming flowers.  One thing I am glad about that little “frosting” we had, was the killing off of many of those biting jiggers.  They were getting to be rather aggravating whenever outside for even the shortest of periods.

We’re starting to get more buyer calls again and hopefully now back on track with sales for the remainder of the year. There have also been some new listings on the market this week, but I didn’t see anything that looked that promising for some of the buyers I’ve been working with.

I did manage to get the home I recently spoke about listed today.  It was the second time I’d been there, and once again I believe it has an absolutely wonderful floor plan to where it has a real “grounding” effect when inside.  It’s located at 418 – 7th St. SE here in Mason City, and all the homes around it are clean and well kept.  I’ve sold other homes in those blocks and have found buyers to be happy they purchased them.  There are two very good features this home offers.  First of all it has four bedrooms which many young families are seeking, and secondly, it has a half bath on the main floor.  Most of our older two story homes only have three bedrooms, and don’t have a half bath on the first floor which most buyers don’t like.  Having that extra bedroom and half bath will certainly make it more marketable.  I’m planning on having it open this Saturday from 1 – 3 PM so if you or anyone you know is looking for a home, stop on down.

Late this morning I toured a home that certainly “wowed” me.  It’s listed with another agent, but I thought I’d go out and preview it.  Whomever built it was exceptionally particular about the woodwork, doors, and cabinetry.  It offers the most beautiful maple woodwork I’ve ever seen in a newer home.  The interior doors are even six paneled and also of maple.  I told the agent there’ll certainly be someone with an eye for quality who’ll snap it up.

Early this morning I happened upon a few clever jokes I thought worth sharing, so here they are:

  • Do you know why Pigmies don’t eat clowns?  Because they taste funny.
  • I hate going to weddings, because there’s always gotta be an old lady next to me who turns and whispers in my ear, “You’re next.” So I started doing the same at funerals, “You’re next.”
  • You know you’re a red neck when you go to family reunions in your pickup truck waiting for the opportunity to say, “Hop in my little Princess. I’ll all be OK because everybody here knows we’re just kissing cousins!”

Enough for tonight. Just thought I’d throw these in to remind you that a good laugh is the best medicine.  The above photo is of my curtain rising on 418 – 7th St. SE.  Take a closer look if it pleases you.

Back in the 1850′s

Back in the 1850'sNearly the last minute this morning, I decided to go to one of the local churches and managed to get there just as their Service was beginning.  When looking for a spare seat in the rear, I slipped in next to an IPERS pensioner whom I believe worked in some capacity in the school system for a number of years.  Looking at how he’s aged, reminded me again how quickly the years pass.

Not realizing it until starting looking around, I discovered a couple seated a row ahead of me and down several seats to my right.  I’ve never had any dealings with them in real estate, but our paths have crossed on occasion over these many years.  My first and lasting impression of them wasn’t the best due to the both of them having a weird sort of condescending demeanor.  At that time I thought, “Hmm.  You people don’t even know me and you act like this?”  I did mention to someone who was all the more familiar with them how they treated me the first time we met, and he said not to pay any attention because they’re that way with nearly everyone they consider below them. I laughed and said, “Don’t you think someone should remind them that we’re not living in India within a caste system?”  He chuckled and said, “I dare you to say that to them the next time you see them.”  Well today was neither the time or place, so I just pretended they weren’t even there.

The service as a whole was pretty weak–especially the short sermon that was given. What bothered me the most was the keyboardist and lead singer who were upstairs trying to get the congregation to sing music that certainly wasn’t meant for an aging crowd.  Wow!  I can’t remember the last time I was in a church where all the hymns being played were filled with syncopation and excessively broad vocal ranges.  It’s no wonder nearly no one was singing.  The young male lead singer was even stumbling a time or two.  As I was walking out, I was tempted to go upstairs and soulfully give them my opinion regarding today’s music choices.  Nearly all the churches in North Iowa are pushing the idea of “inclusion for all”.  How can they possibly think they’re including everyone when most don’t have music backgrounds along with wide vocal ranges?  Oh well, perhaps some day they’ll more fully understand the concept of inclusion.

My day was split between doing some real estate work along with being back at my little big project. Every hour that’s spent on it brings me all the closer to my personal finish line.  I’ve discovered after these many days how I’ve grown all the more proficient.  Now you see. Practice does bring nearly everyone closer to perfection.  After looking at the weather, I’m hoping along with saying a little prayer we don’t have a light frost in the lowlands of North Iowa which would include much of Mason City since the bulk of it’s in the bottom of a “bowl”.  After tonight, we should have a very pleasant week ahead.  Yes, I’m being selfish in wanting to see our flowers continue blooming.

The above photo is of one of the last remaining historic Pioneer homes within our City limits.  Every time I drive past it, I become all the more saddened in knowing that it’s now likely beyond repair.  The family that owns it should’ve been a little more conscientious regarding its historic significance.  Isn’t it a sad sight? Oh if only those stone walls could speak.  If possible, they’d certainly be telling some hair-raising stories about how hard life was back in the 1850′s.

Well it was Free!

Well it was Free!For a Saturday, it seemed almost surrealistic with the way the weather was all day, along with not having my nearly every Saturday public open house.  It’s likely a good thing I didn’t considering the way the weather has been.  That misty rain was beginning to get a bit annoying to where I was ready to look to the heavens and say, “Would you just either rain, or get over it!”

The comic book store down the street was having some sort of anniversary celebration and by the looks of it, there weren’t nearly as many people as they were likely expecting.  There were comic book vehicles and characters outside, but only about a handful of people milling around.  I’m sure many parents decided not to have their children out in the rain.  There’s one thing we always have to consider when living in North Iowa, and that’s where the weather and temperatures can change quickly and drastically.  Planning something outside this late in the year is a crap shoot as far as I’m concerned.

Yours truly did manage to keep himself busy nearly the entire day.  As I mentioned before, when working at a menial task in some quiet space without any distractions, one can really get some deep thinking done.  I was delighted to find how much work I’d completed along with a great deal of much needed thinking.

One of the topics of thought was recalling the number of times over these long years the many people and/or entities who received gifts or grants of money.  I’ve known for a very long time how often whenever money is given to a person, municipality, or a charity, the willful waste and thoughtlessness begins.  Nearly all of them go on spending sprees to where you step back and think, “I believe that gift was the worst idea because those people didn’t have a clue regarding how to first think and plan before opening their checkbooks.”  Believe me, I’ve known many over the years who’ve squandered hundreds of thousands and all because it was free. Now it they had to work for decades to accumulate it, that would be an entirely different story. I see it on nearly a daily basis.

Those thoughts led me to the business of this so-called “much needed” ice arena.  Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in people being sports minded, but there are always those that take it to the extreme.  About 18 years ago I was quite familiar with a family who had two young boys who were head-over-heels about hockey.  Unfortunately their parents left them both to believe they’d become hockey stars.  Hockey was all consuming within that family to where there wasn’t much talked about besides their aspiring hockey playing sons.

Fast forwarding to the present.  Unfortunately most don’t realize becoming a professional in any sport has nearly the odds of winning the lottery.  Well, those two boys are grown men now and because they didn’t focus on more attainable career paths while in high school, they soon fell behind and ended up with blue collar jobs, married, and now with children.  About six months ago one of them called me just to say  “Hey”.  After hanging up from him I was saddened when I began thinking about all of those missed opportunities he and his brother had while in junior high and high school.  If they’d only kept their sport-mindedness in perspective.  As nearly always, when young, you believe you’re never going to grow old.   Now back to thoughtless waste. I want you to think about how many times you’ve seen willful waste and later heard someone say, “Well it was free!”

The above photo is one I took of the misty rain over Clear Lake.  Kinda creepy isn’t it?